Four Great News Items About MindFreedom & Winning Human Rights in Mental Health

David W. Oaks, psychiatric survivor, speaks a few years ago in Oslo, Norway at a protest.

David W. Oaks, psychiatric survivor, speaks a few years ago in Oslo, Norway at a protest.

I do some consulting for the independent nonprofit, MindFreedom International, which is one of the main coalitions focusing on human rights in mental health.

Here are four positive news items about MFI:

1. MindFreedom will be doing another free webinar later this Summer 2018, on choice in mental health.

On August 19, 2018, MindFreedom will be holding a new free online webinar about empowering options for people needing mental and emotional support. The title of the webinar: “Voices for Choices: Organizing for Alternatives to Forced Psychiatric Treatment.”

Thanks to support from the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, three leaders in the field of providing alternatives to mainstream mental health, will be offering this opportunity. For more information and to register, go here. Act soon, attendance is limited and based on previous webinars, this will be popular.

2. MindFreedom is stronger than ever.

It has been more than five years since I experienced a major accident and severe ongoing disabilities, requiring my retirement after 25 years as MFI’s executive director. As well as the above grant from the Foundation, MFI received an anonymous major donation, and many members have continued to support this important effort.

I am glad to report that MindFreedom International is doing very well. However, there has not been a replacement executive director. Until now. MFI is now announcing a search for a new executive director. This will no doubt lead to better member services, campaigns, and online information, which many people supportive of human rights in mental health have hoped for. Congratulations!

Please note that MindFreedom website currently lists the deadline for the job application as July 31, 2018. So unless this is extended, it is too late to apply.

For more info, see the MindFreedom website here. (Please note that I am not in any way personally involved with the search.)

I have very much enjoyed providing some consulting with MFI through my new business, Aciu Institute. We have helped do several surveys, for example. We look forward to future support for MFI.

3. You can now view MindFreedom’s last webinar, on human rights in mental health, free.

At the beginning of this Summer, 2018, two other psychiatric survivors and I presented a free MFI online gathering about winning campaigns for choice in mental health. You can now view a video recording for free on the web, here.

Above right is a photo of work I did years ago in Oslo, Norway with one of the oldest groups in our movement: We Shall Overcome. We constructed a huge prop hypodermic needle and reaches hundreds in Oslo about choice in mental health. No forced psychiatric drugging!

4. For a limited time, interested activists can apply to benefit from mentorship.

As a follow-up to their webinar MindFreedom International gave about human rights in mental health, about 20 folks can apply to become mentorees. Each will work with a mentor to develop written plans for a human rights in mental health campaign. Because space is limited, those interested should contact MFI soon. Email to: sarah@mindfreedom.org

Go MindFreedom International, go! Let us help lead this revolution!

I am glad to see that MindFreedom International, despite many struggles related to the incredible oppression in the mental health system, and also my accident, is doing so well. Listening to a lot of folks, I know there is hope for a better online presence, member services, etc. But generally these hopes are very constructively and lovingly offered.

Let us all work together for MindFreedom International and the revolution we need in mental health. With the climate crisis, the lock so-called “normality” has on our culture has become a central emergency, globally!

 

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For a Well Mind, Try Revolution? Creative Maladjustment Week 2015

In the Oregon Country Fair, you will find a number of us who work for social change in the Community Village. (Photo by mylerdude via Flickr.)

In the Oregon Country Fair, you will find a number of us who work for social change in the Community Village. (Photo by mylerdude via Flickr.)

Your mental wellness requires a global revolution. In fact, your physical wellness requires one, too.

For many years, I have noticed that there are people doing good social change work for mild reform. That is nice, but during my work in what we affectionately call the “mad movement,” I have often called for revolution, because the change we need is so big! Please do not misunderstand me, we need to attempt a peaceful revolution, which I do not think has been adequately tried; however, I am not a pacifist.

How do you know that a revolution has started? How does it feel? Maybe one has started but we did not get the memo? Or maybe you will start one? What is the connection between peaceful, nonviolent revolution and violent revolution, if any?

Given global warming, inequality, and so many other problems such as bee colony collapse, etc., etc., most people I talk with agree that there needs to be a revolution. My amazing wife, Debra, has helped name our revolution “Love Earth Revolution,” and maybe your name for this revolt is different?

It seems that whenever I hear about big problems in the world, the person concludes by saying that we know what needs to be done, we have the technology, a solution is affordable, but we need to act urgently and the main question is, “Do we have the collective will?”

There is a moral paralysis that blocks necessary revolution. Even Pope Francis is calling for a revolution because of global warming and poverty!

Hmmm, paralysis, seems like I might have some tips about that subject, in fact, maybe the disability movement might be able to help? Many other social change movements have also called for a nonviolent revolution.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his speeches and essays for about a decade that we all needed to be “creatively maladjusted” to oppression. In fact, he said that the future of the world lay in the hands of the “creatively maladjusted.” MLK said that we are in dire need of a new organization that he called, “International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment.” Because this was an obvious reference to NAACP, many in his audiences would laugh, but there is a very serious side here.

As many readers of this blog know, a few years ago, the mental health activist group MindFreedom launched Creative Maladjustment Week to help make MLK’s vision real. Tomorrow, July 7,  is the start of this year’s CM week. Each day has been given a theme which you can read below:

7 July – Day of Creativity

8 July – Day of Action & Movement

9 July – Day of Laughter & Joyful Noise

10 July – Day of Kindness: This Friday, by the way, I will celebrate out at the Oregon Country Fair. The honorary chair of the IAACM has long been the real Patch Adams. Patch will speak at the Front Porch at 1:00 PM, however, we hear that he will be at the Community Village stage at 5:00 PM to kindly address creative maladjustment. Folk singer David Rogers will do a sign-along of the ancient freedom rebellion song, The Thoughts Are Free!

11 July – Day of Self Care

12 July – Day of Community Care

13 July – Legacy of Lunacy

14 July – Day of PRIDE: This is also Bastille Day and for decades, psychiatric survivors have used this day for international protest about changing the mental health system. When the revolution in France overthrew the Bastille, a psychiatric survivor was in there!

Your Leadership is Needed!

We know that leadership is best when it is near equal and everyone is a leader! This leaderful approach is known as a horizontal approach. That means you are in charge of creative maladjustment week, if you choose to! As long as your activity is in sync with the values of MLK, the sky is the limit.

Tomorrow, July 7, which this year happens to be a Tuesday, what will be your creative act of maladjustment to the seeming moral paralysis that is holding us back?

You may leave your answers on this blog’s comment area below. Or, if you are on Facebook, please search for our FB page https://www.facebook.com/IAACM , and you can leave your ideas there.

MindFreedom set up a webpage to promote Creative Maladjustment Week and you can read about that here: http://cmweek.org/

There is plenty of more info on the web, try these search terms: mad pride, MLK creative maladjustment, IAACM.

This year, for the first time, we will not have the activist present in this world, Leonard Roy Frank. This great psychiatric survivor worked in our movement for decades and died this year. My friend studied revolutionary social change by reading a lot about MLK, Gandhi, and many others who worked for social justice. Leonard was born July 15, 1932, and died January 15, 2015. So the next day after CM Week, Leonard would have turned 83. Personally, I think starting a global nonviolent revolution for justice on his birthday would be a great gift!

Here is a little-known aspect to CM Week that you might not know. There is actually a good reason to start this on July 7. From a Wiki article about Alleged Lunatics’ Friends Society:

“On July 7, 1845, Richard Paternoster, John Perceval, and a number of others formed the Alleged Lunatics’ Friend Society. A pamphlet published in March the following year set out the aims with which the Society was founded:

At a meeting of several Gentlemen feeling deeply interested in behalf of their fellow-creatures, subjected to confinement as lunatic patients.

It was unanimously resolved:… That this Society is formed for the protection of the British subject from unjust confinement, on the grounds of mental derangement, and for the redress of persons so confined; also for the protection of all persons confined as lunatic patients from cruel and improper treatment. That this Society will receive applications from persons complaining of being unjustly treated, or from their friends, aid them in obtaining legal advice, and otherwise assist and afford them all proper protection.

That the Society will endeavour to procure a reform in the laws and treatment affecting the arrest, detention, and release of persons treated as of unsound mind…

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Connecting Disablity, March on Washington and Climate Crisis

David Oaks and Debra Nunez

David and Debra pose on our new deck from Habitat for Humanity in our backyard summer August 2013: I am Home.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Here are my top 5 ways that the disability movement intersects with the civil rights movement and the environmental movement, especially the climate crisis.

1. The Movement

When I began my activist career in the 1970’s we called ourselves The Movement, meaning we were all in one movement. I visited the civil rights museum in Atlanta near the Martin Luther King memorial. There is a clear connection in that museum from the civil rights movement to the the launch of the modern disability movement. I was glad to hear that today’s March on Washington commemoration included many other issues including voting rights, l/g/b/t marriage equality, and even climate crisis. Of course. MLK summed up his work as a creating the Beloved Community, which now means all people and the environment.

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